Archive for September, 2010

Extreme Unicycle

Posted in funny with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

In the world of extreme sports and street sports, crazy adventurous people will try anything for a thrill.  In addition to skateboarding, roller blading, BMX, FMX, snow mobile jumping, parkour and many many more, there is EXTREME UNICYCLING.

Check out the website for the New York Unicycle Club!

What We All Do at Work

Posted in Dragone, Life in Macau, Music, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

As you may or may not know, creating the largest most expensive show on the planet is hard work.  It requires years of development and months of intense labor creating the finished product in the theatre.

 

 

Guennadi takes his lunch lying down

 

Our facility was built from scratch specifically for our show.  Hundreds of people have been planning, prepping and slaving away to get the show ready for an audience.

 

 

Brixton and I catch a quick nap in the elevator

 

Last week, we opened (to rave reviews) and our hard work has finally paid off.

 

 

Beata grabs some shut-eye between training sessions

 

We here at The House of Dancing Water, have had several additional projects to deal with during the creation of our show.  We have had a “making-of” documentary film crew, the souvenir program photography and even a few weeks of shooting for our reality TV show.

 

 

The Film Crew from EXQI

 

 

Photoshoot on the Beach

 

 

 

Even the Cameraman needs to take a rest

 

One of the marketing techniques employed by COD was to produce a music video with Hong Kong Cantopop legend Sammi.  She sings our theme song (Water of Love) and dances on our stage.  Our cast and stage are featured prominently to tell the love story in her song.  Watch the video here:

 

 

The Towel Bin is a great place to catch some ZZZs

 

Following our Gala Grand Premiere Opening, we had a raging party that started with a champagne toast in the lobby, drinks and munchie food at the Hyatt Ballroom and then hours of debauchery at the new dance club, Cubic.

 

Rowan, Me and Cheeky celebrate with class at the Hyatt

 

 

No one knows where to look- too many paparazzi

 

 

The Morning After

 

Maybe now that the show is open, people will begin to be able to sleep in their own homes again.

Here is one more video of our Creation process for you to enjoy.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Posted in Life in Macau with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

中秋節

A Moon Cake

For the past two days here in Macau we have been celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival.  Here is the story of the festival according to wikipedia (I know I’m lazy to quote wiki, but oh well.)

“Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Houyi and Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality. Tradition places these two figures from Chinese mythology at around 2200 BCE, during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao, shortly after that of Huangdi. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang’e simply lives on the moon but is not the moon per se.

There are many variants and adaptations of the legend of Chang’e that frequently contradict each other. However, most versions of the legend involve some variation of the following elements: Houyi, the Archer, an emperor, either benevolent or malevolent, and an elixir of life.

One version of the legend states that Houyi was an immortal and Chang’e was a beautiful young girl, working in the palace of the Jade Emperor (the Emperor of Heaven) as an attendant to the Queen Mother of the West (the Jade Emperor’s wife). Houyi aroused the jealousy of the other immortals, who then slandered him before the Jade Emperor. Houyi and his wife, Chang’e, were subsequently banished from heaven. They were forced to live on Earth. Houyi had to hunt to survive and became a skilled and famous archer.

At that time, there were ten suns, in the form of three-legged birds, residing in a mulberry tree in the eastern sea. Each day one of the sun birds would have to travel around the world on a carriage, driven by Xihe, the ‘mother’ of the suns. One day, all ten of the suns circled together, causing the Earth to burn. Emperor Yao, the Emperor of China, commanded Houyi to use his archery skill to shoot down all but one of the suns. Upon completion of his task, the Emperor rewarded Houyi with a pill that granted eternal life. Emperor Yao advised Houyi not to swallow the pill immediately but instead to prepare himself by praying and fasting for a year before taking it. Houyi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter. One day, Houyi was summoned away again by Emperor Yao. During her husband’s absence, Chang’e, noticed a white beam of light beckoning from the rafters, and discovered the pill. Chang’e swallowed it and immediately found that she could fly. Houyi returned home, realizing what had happened he began to reprimand his wife. Chang’e escaped by flying out the window into the sky.

Houyi pursued her halfway across the heavens but was forced to return to Earth because of strong winds. Chang’e reached the moon, where she coughed up part of the pill. Chang’e commanded the hare that lived on the moon to make another pill. Chang’e would then be able to return to Earth and her husband.

The legend states that the hare is still pounding herbs, trying to make the pill. Houyi built himself a palace in the sun, representing “Yang” (the male principle), in contrast to Chang’e’s home on the moon which represents “Yin” (the female principle). Once a year, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Houyi visits his wife. That is the reason why the moon is very full and beautiful on that night.

This description appears in written form in two Western Han dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) collections; Shan Hai Jing, the Classic of the Mountains and Seas and Huainanzi, a philosophical classic.

Another version of the legend, similar to the one above, differs in saying that Chang’e swallowed the pill of immortality because Peng, one of Houyi’s many apprentice archers, tried to force her to give the pill to him. Knowing that she could not fight off Peng, Chang’e had no choice but to swallow the pill herself.

Other versions say that Houyi and Chang’e were still immortals living in heaven at the time that Houyi killed nine of the suns. The sun birds were the sons of the Jade Emperor, who punished Houyi and Chang’e by forcing them to live on Earth as mortals. Seeing that Chang’e felt extremely miserable over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to find the pill that would restore it. At the end of his quest, he met the Queen Mother of the West, who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person would only need half a pill to regain immortality. Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang’e not to open the case, and then left home for a while. Like Pandora in Greek mythology, Chang’e became curious. She opened up the case and found the pill, just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous that Houyi would catch her, discovering the contents of the case, she accidentally swallowed the entire pill, and started to float into the sky because of the overdose.

Some versions of the legend do not refer to Houyi or Chang’e as having previously been immortals and initially present them as mortals instead.

There are also versions of the story in which Houyi was made king as a reward for killing nine of the suns and saving the people. However, King Houyi became a despot who either stole a pill of immortality from the Queen Mother of the West or learned that he could make such a pill by grinding up the body of a different adolescent boy every night for a hundred nights. Chang’e stole the pill and swallowed it herself, either to stop more boys being killed or to prevent her husband’s tyrannical rule from lasting forever.”

Read the full wiki article here.

Read about the festival at China Highlights here.

Moon Cakes on a Platter

My main contribution to the Festival has been eating Moon Cakes. They are a very rich dessert and must be eaten in small wedges.  One cake (smaller than my palm) can feed about eight people.  The filling is usually made of lotus paste and a duck egg yolk to represent the moon.  I haven’t even had to seek out these cakes, as they are commonly given as business gifts and many of our vendors have sent them to our office.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, Everyone!

My Winter Travels: Rotterdam, Cologne, Maastricht and London

Posted in Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

Public Art in Rotterdam

As I sit at my desk here in Macau and write this post to document my travels from last winter, I reflect on the differences in my life.  I no longer live in gray, cloudy, cold Belgium and am no longer hopping on trains to visit nearby cold and snowy European cities.  Instead I live in gray, cloudy, hot Macau and occasionally hop on a plane to visit nearby sunny and humid asian cities.

The Dom Cathedral in Koln

So let’s all close our eyes and imagine it is a cold and blustery winter in Northern Europe.  Let’s imagine that we at Dragone have just received news of yet another delay in our show and our eventual cross-planet transfer to Macau.  Christmas is fast-approaching and thoughts of escaping Belgium and out Bubble are increasing daily.

Pass That Dutch in Maastricht

Over the few months of winter, we organized some group trips to various neighboring countries to break up the tedium of life in Belgium.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Skoopy!

Rotterdam, the Netherlands: 13 December 2009

The first of our trips was to Rotterdam, one of  the bigger cities in the Netherlands.  We went as a large group to see the Cirque du Soleil show Saltimbanco (also directed by Franco Dragone).  Many of our cast and crew have worked on Saltimbanco in the past and were really happy to have the chance to see their friends onstage.

Marshall and Dean consult the map

We also did the requisite wandering/sightseeing/shopping in the afternoon.

Cool Statue in the Sunset

Koln (Cologne), Germany: 20 and 21 December 2009

My co-workers (friends) Sita, Kirk, Alex and I decided to take a weekend trip to Cologne for some last-minute Christmas market shopping and revelry before each heading to our respective homes for the holidays.

Beer can keep you warm

The town was a-buzz with Christmas Cheer

Lots of snow, lots of people, lots of booths in the markets

Pit stops at bars and café were essential given the frigid weather and pushy crowds at the markets.  We ate lots of warm crusty pastries and treats and drank a lot of Gluhwein (warm mulled wine- a Holiday treat in Germany and the Netherlands).   We also each managed to find a few items for gifts or for ourselves.

Merry Christmas!

Maastricht, the Netherlands: 31 January 2010

I decided to visit Masstricht because my little brother told me I would be a “stupid-head” if I lived so close to it for almost 2 years and never actually made the trip.  He had studied here a few years back during his University days.  I suppose he enjoyed it and that’s why he called me mean names to persuade me to go . . .

A quaint little stream and a quaint amount of snow

To be honest, the trip was not entirely exciting.  We walked around town and saw the Southern Dutch architecture, the river and some cool modern buildings in the distance.

However, it was BRASS BAND weekend and we did catch several live performances around town!

London, England: 7 and 8 February 2010

The last “big” trip I went on during my time in Belgium, was the weekend holiday in London.  Again, a bunch of Dragone-ites headed out together to visit the city and see Varekai at Royal Albert Hall.

Two of my traveling companions Pamela and Ana

Other than the show, my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Camden Town Markets.  The place is crawling with “hip” people, “hip” cafes and lots and lots of “hip” handicrafts to buy.  I got a cool ring made of circuitry parts.  (It is very “hip” but it did turn my finger green . . . )

The "Hip" Area

Hip candles made of hip fruits and veggies (for real, yo)

The trip was awesome and a much-needed diversion from the Bubble.  Of course it was cold and of course we had to walk a lot.  The show was really good and being in Royal Albert Hall was totally cool.

But hands down, the COOLEST part of the trip was . . .

THIS T-SHIRT!!!!!!!!!

I guess that brings us up to date on my travels.  Probably just in time for me to take another trip or two.  Perhaps, I should try to blog about my life here in Macau a little more . . .

Anyway, more photos of Rotterdam here; Koln here; Maastricht here and London here.  ENJOY

What Happens When The Bosses Take a Day Off

Posted in Dragone, funny, Life in Macau, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

Yesterday my co-worker, let’s call him “K” was on holiday and therefore out of the office.  Many of the upper management were also away from the office for the day.  Therefore another co-worker “A” and I decided to make some mischief on K’s desk.

K's desk (and K)- On a normal day

My first idea was simply to steal his speakers, but A replied, “That’s too complicated.”  Then she grabbed a pile of foam core that was laying around and said, “I know, we can draw his computer on this polystyrene and replace his real computer with the pictures.”  And so we did.  We drew a monitor, keyboard, mouse and telephone.  We took his desktop computer apart and hid it around the corner.  We attached all the proper wires and taped the whole lot to his desk.

The true multi-tasker: A talks on her phone AND disassembles K's computer

When that wasn’t enough, we also replaced his CPU, cell phone and all his writing utensils.  I seriously considered emptying out his paperclip cup and drawing little fake paperclips to put in it.

Isn't it awesome?

This morning, I came to work EXTRA early so I would be sure to beat K in.  I waited and waited and waited.  Finally he called to say that his flight had been delayed and he would be LATE for work.  Curses, foiled by mother nature and the typhoon that stopped K’s plane!

A hates Mother Nature and the Typhoon that made K late

The new home for K's computer and phone

See more photos of office mischief and adventure here.

Thailand and Vietnam

Posted in Travel Asia with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

Ronald McDonald Thanks You for Coming to Thailand

So I know that I am skipping ahead to the present again as far as travel documentation goes, and I will get back to my European travels from earlier this year soon.  However, in April, I spent a week in Thailand and in August I took a long weekend trip to Vietnam and I want to write about those trips now.

The Colonel Welcomes You to Vietnam

Thailand

Upon arriving in Macau, we were faced with another delay due to construction in the theater and were given a two-week holiday. Many of us chose to go to Thailand. I traveled with a small group of riggers to a beach near Khao Lak (an area of Thailand that had been destroyed in the tsunami and is now rebuilding) on the mainland a bit north of Phuket island.

My Home for 3 Days

We stayed in small bungalows on a really remote beach. We had a very chill few days of relaxation, surfing, sunning and partying. We organized a barbecue with the locals and other guests.

A Beautiful Thai Sunset

One of the highlights of the Khao Lak of this trip (aside from the gorgeous beach and incredibly fresh fruit) was my first ever surf lesson. I managed to stand up and ride a few waves. I totally removed the vast majority of skin on my stomach. Next time, I will invest in a rash guard or at least wear a t-shirt!

Paul is too cool for school

But the ultimate highlight of my trip (and possibly my whole year) was RIDING AN ELEPHANT.  It was so cool.  The 5 of us rode and bathed 2 elephants in the jungle.  (Yes, it was a paid excursion, we didn’t just hop on random wild elephants.)

Kellie, Paul, Me and Dave just after washing the elephants

Cheeky, Paul and Dave take a ride through the jungle.

After the riggers left to go back to Macau, I stayed in Phuket for three days on my own. The first day, I stated in Phuket Town itself and wandered the city exploring the mix of Chinese and Thai architecture and decoration.

The next day, I hopped on a bus to the beach town of Patong.  It was very much a “spring break” type beach with a ton of tourists (most of whom were Australian).  I spent a day and a half enjoying the sun and doing a little bit of shopping.

Vietnam

In August, I had a three-day weekend and chose to spend my short vacation in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.  It was quite possibly, the most perfect excursion, giving me a much needed breath of fresh air and look at life outside the bubble of an existence I lead in the Macau.

Tanks in the Rain

I visited the War Remnants Museum.  It was definitely interesting to see the “War of American Aggression” from a different perspective.

Why does the US always end up in wars that the rest of the world protests?

I did a lot of wandering both alone and with new friends from the hostel.  The energy in Saigon is amazing and busy.  There are thousands of scooters and motorcycles zooming down the street with whole families aboard.  I had been warned to be steadfast while crossing the streets, but nothing prepared me for the harrowing task of dodging incoming motorcycles and buses.  I am truly lucky to have gotten out alive.

I saw people asleep on top of motorcycles, rickshaws and on the floors of their stores. I guess when you are tired, you are tired.

On my last day, I visited several pagodas in the Chinatown area of Saigon.  At one particular temple, I met a group of monks who understood a little bit of English.  They invited me to eat lunch with them and enjoy a leisurely chat.  I tried to explain my job at the circus with mixed success.  I ended up showing them videos on my iphone.  When I showed them the video of the moto act, everyone’s eyes went really wide and they started saying, “YOU? OOOOHH! YOU?”  I tried to explain that I myself am not a freestyle motocross rider, but that I manage a group of crazy moto jumpers.  I did not have much success at this explanation and I am sure that those monks are still telling stories of the crazy American girl that back flips motorcycles for a living.

My three days in Vietnam were amazing and I headed back to Macau both exhausted and refreshed.  I definitely need to go back again and see more of the country.

Check out this cock!

Check out this sperm!

See more photos of Thailand here.

See more photos of Saigon here.